“The salutation of Paul with my own hand, which is a sign in every epistle; so I write. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen” (2 Thessalonians 3:17-18).
A first-century letter was often composed by a secretary known as an amanuensis. In such instances, a brief, handwritten portion from the author served to authenticate his or her message just as we see in the passage quoted above. For Paul the Apostle, this represented more than just a personal note for verification purposes; it also protected his recipients from others who might wish to circulate forged correspondence alleged to have been written by him.
This undoubtedly represented a concern for Paul and the members of the Thessalonian church based on something he mentioned earlier within this letter…
“We ask you, brothers and sisters, not to be easily upset or troubled, either by a prophecy or by a message or by a letter supposedly from us, alleging that the day of the Lord has come” (2 Thessalonians 2:1-2 CSB, emphasis added).
Many commentators believe that Paul was concerned with the possibility that others were using his name to legitimize and promote false teachings. To guard against that risk, Paul typically signed his name and added a sentence or two of his own at the conclusion of each letter. This provided an effective means of validation, especially in those instances where Paul used different secretaries to compose his messages. One source identifies the value of this simple precautionary measure by noting, “The salutation of Paul in his own hand is the mark of genuineness for his letter. The Thessalonians need not wonder whether another letter they might get would be authentic” (1)
With that, our look at this epistle concludes with a familiar benediction…
“The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen” (2 Thessalonians 3:18).
The following commentary offers a fitting observation that summarizes the value of this letter for readers of every generation…
“The book of 2 Thessalonians is especially meaningful for those who are being persecuted or are under pressure because of their faith. In chapter 1 we are told what suffering can do for us. In chapter 2 we are assured of final victory. In chapter 3 we are encouraged to continue living responsibly in spite of difficult circumstances. Christ’s return is more than a doctrine; it is a promise. It is not just for the future; it has a vital impact on how we live now.” (2)
(1) Hindson, E. E., & Kroll, W. M. (Eds.). (1994). KJV Bible Commentary (p. 2491). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.
(2) Life Application Study Bible NKJV 2 Thessalonians 3:18 Copyright © 1988, 1989, 1991, 1993, 1996, 2004 by Tyndale House Publishers Inc., all rights reserved.